Amazon is a “provider to know” on many levels, but this also applies to B2B procurement. Amazon Business is the B2B version of Amazon.com. Previously running as amazonsupply.com, it is somewhat of a “re-skinned” version of the Amazon.com consumer e-marketplace, and offers:
- A broad assortment of business-specific and business-only items
- Business-specific item pricing and potential tax-exempt status depending on your state and Amazon fulfillment centers
- A B2B version of Amazon Prime with 2-day free shipping on most orders over $49
- Buyer financing via Amazon’s corporate credit line – and supplier financing available too
- Basic automated approvals (including user groups) before orders are placed
- Value-added premium services (e.g., inventory management and fulfillment) for suppliers beyond basic listings and volumes (and associated fees)
Amazon Business is a terrific option for small-to-medium-sized businesses looking for one-stop e-commerce shopping with an e-commerce retailer now taking the form of whatever you want to call it: mega supplier, virtual distributor, e-marketplace, etc., for catalog-based indirect spend items. It is not currently a replacement for value-added distributors that manage tool cribs, MRO vending machines, maintenance system integrations, etc., but certainly offers more buying options to buyers who currently use those providers.
Amazon Business also offers a channel for large enterprises who want to “punch out” to the site via their e-procurement systems to support “tail spend” requirements for supporting one-time, ad hoc and/or low-dollar purchases. There are downsides to this model as we wrote about generally here and more deeply here, but it’s a nice option indeed for many.